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Stop re-using banking passwords - use this instead

(Image credit: Shutterstock / vladwel)

A worrying amount of online banking users have admitted to re-using the passwords for their accounts across multiple sites, putting them at risk of security issues.

Research from software firm FICO found that only two in five (40 percent) of Brits have separate passwords for each of their financial accounts. 

The company's survey also discovered that one in 20 Brits admitted to using just a single password for all their accounts, meaning that if any individual account was compromised, the rest could be too.

Passwords vs biometrics

FICO's study uncovered a large number of concerning security habits for customers of all ages, despite concerted attempts by banks and financial institutions to boost protection in recent years.

Nearly one in five (18 percent) Brits write down all their passwords, with only 58 percent claiming they could remember their details first-hand.

Only 18 percent claim to use recommended password management software, and although over half of users said they would be prepared to use security systems such as a one-time passcode (OTP) by SMS when logging into a mobile banking app, 17 percent believe their bank account provider did not have their current mobile phone number.

“Forgotten usernames and passwords can result in online purchases being abandoned; they even impact new account openings with existing providers,” said Sarah Rutherford, identity solutions expert, FICO. 

Biometrics has long been touted as the solution for such security woes, and FICO's study appeared to show that consumers are finally coming round to using such systems.

Overall, 71 percent of those surveyed said they would be happy to provide their bank with biometric information, with only 13 percent saying banks should never capture such data. When logging into a banking app, 48 percent said they would be happy to use a fingerprint scan, 25 percent a facial image and 23 percent a voiceprint. 

70 percent also accept the use of behavioural biometrics such as analysis of the way they hold their phone or type in their password.

“It’s important that consumers are given the confidence that transactions can be completed swiftly without any increased risk to security by using biometrics, especially with consumer behaviours switching to digital channels as a consequence of COVID-19. Fortunately, our survey showed that a move towards more secure authentication methods has positive support from consumers," Rutherford added.